Smiling From The Floor Up is the debut solo release from Rutland based singer-songwriter Paul McClure, set for release March 3rd on Clubhouse Records, the former frontman of The Hi and Lo enlisted the help of label mates Alex and Hannah Elton- Wall (The Redlands Palomino Company) and Joe Bennett (The Dreaming Spires) for the album which was recorded and produced at Leicester’s Tiny Studios.
Employing minimal overdubs a back-to-basics approach was taken by McClure where the songs were played ‘live’ a few times and one of the takes made the final cut for the album, the methodology employed perfectly representing the essence of McClure’s songs, songs borne of experience and deeply personal are exposed by the pared back recording and revealed free of pretence – there’s no hiding from the catharsis and introspection the performances convey.
In his own words.
“This album is a collection of songs recorded without the trappings of a band or orchestra, lightly textured layers with occasional touches of colour here and there; a harmony here, a piano there, a sympathetic slide guitar draped across the shoulders of another,” explains McClure. “I didn’t want anything to dilute the effect of the song in its most honest, most vulnerable form. Nothing to hide behind or run from.”
“These songs didn’t write themselves, as they sometimes seem to do, but I did want them to speak for themselves. These songs are all very personal, there’s no fiction here, even if I occasionally had to hide the truth in a made up name or a fantasy; (changing the names to protect the innocent in some cases, the guilty don’t deserve to be named in others.) These stories are moments from my life and though it can seem hard to accept sometimes, I don’t regret a single one; at the very least I got a song out of it.”
The What’s Kickin’ series of CD’s reached number five last year and the quintet are all in my collection, they are wonderful representation of the music collectively called Americana and the eclectic compilations feature music performed by artists associated with the What’s Kickin’ club nights that have been at the forefront of the UK roots music scene in London for a number of years, the CD’s were produced to act as an companion to the live show that have now being re-established at The Crown in Leytonstone, not only are there some great tracks (often exclusives) from familiar and favorite artists but also some fantastic below-the-radar ones too which always get me digging around to find out more and invariably making a purchase or three.
The events themselves have established a reputation for hosting early gigs for a number of well-known acts including Pete Molinari, Damien Jurado, Southern Tenant Folk Union, Smoke Fairies, The Broken Family Band, John Murray and She Keeps Bees as well as a number of Beat Surrender favourites including The Lucky Strikes, Cusack, Leeroy Stagger, Redlands Palomino Co, Cam Penner, Old Lost John and Quiet Loner amongst others.
Volume 5 of the series has being re-launched to coincide with the return of What’s Cookin’ to the London music scene and acts as a great introduction to what you can expect at the live shows and will open-the-door to some great new music for the discerning listener.
1. Phillious Williams – Old Black Bell
2. Society – Fools End
3. Benjamin Folke Thomas – Another Day Of Being Lonesome (Another Day Of Being Blue) 03 Another Day Of Being Lonesome (Another Day Of Being Blue)
4. The Singing Adams – Brothers And Sisters
5. Treetop Flyers – Long Cold Winter
6. Hightown Crows – Stumbledown Stairs
7. Charlie Parr – Mastodon
8. Yngve & The Innocent – Pretending I Had Faith
9. Darrell Bath – Clinging On
10. The Nightingales – Ghost
11. Molly’s Daggers – Turn To Stone 11 Molly’s Daggers
12. Cowbell – All In Good Time
13. Lucas Renney – She Gives Me The Chills
14. Ian Thomas – Before The Sun Goes Down
15. The Whispering Pines – The Branches!
16. Lowlands – Gotta Be (Something Out There)
17. Otis Gibbs – Cross Country
18. The Lucky Strikes – Blood On The Estuary
19. Los Chicos – What’s Cookin’
UK country rockers The Snakes are back with their new album The Last Days of Rock & Roll, the album title is a statement of intent to go out in style rather than a declaration of surrender and one look at the track-listing reinforces the message , Too Hard, The Band Played On, Make Mine A Broken Heart, Here We Go Again all send a message that this record is all about the rock ‘n’ roll, indeed the band have never sounded better and their third full-length see’s them mining rich seams of music from the genre, exemplified by the title-track and album centre piece which fittingly looks back at some keystones of the genre for its inspiration, a slow build that crashes through the barriers and into a wall of sound that offers salvation for anyone doubting the redemptive powers of rock ‘n’ roll.
The band line-up includes new drummer and percussionist Chris Jones who joins Simon Moor (vocals, acoustic,electric, slide and 12 string guitars, piano), Richard Davies (electric & acoustic guitar, vocals, bouzouki, Dobro & mandolin) and John O’Sullivan (bass, electric, acoustic & 12-string guitar, piano, sitar, glockenspiel, pedal steel, mandolin, violin & backing vocals), the band have enlisted some quality studio players too to further bolster the range of their musical repertoire including two members of Beat Surrender favourites The Redlands Palomino Company as both Alex and Hannah Elton-Wall add their vocal support to a couple of the albums eleven tracks, there are ten originals from the band and a cover of The French Girl by Ian & Sylvia a rare-version of which was also recorded by Byrds legend Gene Clark.
Save your rock ‘n’ roll soul and pick up a copy here.